Frequently Asked Questions
- How does my library sign up to use the Impact Survey?
- What are the survey questions?
- What type of support is offered to libraries?
- Can any library patron take Impact Survey?
- I have used Impact Survey before. How has the survey tool changed?
- Can any library use the Impact Survey?
- How is the Impact Survey different than other library-related surveys?
Features and options
- What is Project Outcome?
- How does Impact Survey work with Project Outcome?
- How do I sign up for Project Outcome?
- I’m a Project Outcome library – how do I log in to my survey portal?
- I’m a Project Outcome library, but I want access to Impact Survey. Why can’t log in?
- Is there a subscription fee for Project Outcome users?
Setting up the survey
- Can I set a survey end page that my library's survey respondents will see when they complete the survey?
- Can we use our own method for connecting to the survey?
- Do you need access to our website code?
- My library doesn’t have a website. Can I still participate?
- How long should my library run the survey?
Taking the survey
After the survey
Impact Survey accounts can be created by libraries or library groups.
Libraries can sign up at the system level with approval from the Library Director. By system we mean the library as an administrative entity, which may consist of one or several outlets. Unfortunately, we cannot accept registration at the outlet/branch level.
We ask that one person register on behalf of the library system at http://impactsurvey.org/library/register. Once your account is created, you will receive an email from email@example.com with instructions for completing your registration.
Library groups or state libraries can register at http://impactsurvey.org/group/register.
For more information visit the How it works page.
Impact Survey asks patrons how they use the library’s public access computers and Internet connection, and how this resource has helped them. The questions cover general use, as well as use in the following areas:
- Civic engagement
- Health and wellness
- Social inclusion
The survey also collects information about use of specific library resources, help and training at the library, overall customer satisfaction, and patron perceptions of the importance of offering public access technology. You can download a PDF of the survey questions in English or Spanish for reference.
We're here for you! The Impact Survey Team will provide you with as much technical support as you need throughout the survey process, including walking you through hosting the survey step by step - from installing your links, to promoting the survey to patrons, to making the most of your survey report. Our friendly research assistants will be on hand to help you with technical support 8:30 - 4:30 Pacific Time, Mondays - Fridays, holidays excluded. Please feel free to contact the survey coordinator at any time via the Contact Us form, or at (206) 543-4324.
Impact Survey is open to all library patrons age 14 and older. All respondents are required to enter in their year of birth at the start of the survey. If the year entered indicates the respondent is under the age of 14, they are exited from the survey. If the birth year field is left blank or indicates that the respondent is under the age of 14 on a paper survey, the survey responses will not be included in your library's data.
We have made several exciting updates and improvements to the Impact Survey, which include:
- Improved survey management via the My Impact dashboard
- Same-day data download once survey fielding is complete
- Ability of state libraries and library groups to run surveys on behalf of their members
- Discounted membership for groups and states
The Impact Survey will continually add new features and options to keep meeting the evolving needs of the library community.
The survey is currently made available for public libraries in the United States. We'd love to hear from you if you are interested in using the survey but are from another country.
If you are from a different type of library in the United States, you can get an account and run the survey at your library; please contact us with your mailing address and we will add your library to the system. At this time, the survey and report wording are designed for public libraries, but we welcome feedback about how the survey can be customized for different types of libraries.
The Impact Survey is an initiative that surveys patrons, not libraries or library staff. There are many valuable public library surveys. Your library may have participated in the Public Library Funding & Technology Access Study conducted by the ALA or recently completed the annual IMLS library survey.
Impact Survey’s custom services can help you collect accurate, actionable information. Our online survey tool not only makes it easy for your organization to collect data from individuals but also generates ready-to-share reports created for your targeted audience. We can also help you create and validate survey questions so you'll collect the right data to meet your information needs.
If you’d like to know more about our custom services, and find out if our survey know-how and tool fits for your organization, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or 206-543-4324.
Starting on October 1, 2014, Impact Survey will begin to charge a small subscription fee to run surveys. Registering an account, the ability to log in, and viewing previous reports will continue to be free. Only scheduling additional surveys will require a subscription.
An Impact Survey subscription will have two different price structures: one for libraries and one for states and groups.
For individual libraries, the yearly subscription fee is determined by the library’s income:
|Library total income (in dollars)|
|0 – 20,000||$50|
|20,001 – 50,000||$75|
|50,001 – 100,000||$125|
|100,001 – 250,000||$200|
|250,001 – 500,000||$300|
|500,001 – 1,000,000||$400|
State libraries, consortia or other groups of 10 or more libraries can purchase a subscription for their members.
- States or groups can purchase subscriptions for their members for 60% off the normal yearly subscription fee.
- Purchasing a subscription for member libraries will allow states and groups to coordinate and run surveys on behalf of their members.
- States and groups can still register for an account that enables them to view their member library reports – at no cost.
We aimed to make these prices reasonable and we hope libraries will agree is much less than the cost of developing, programming, hosting, analyzing, and creating reports on their own.
To fit the varying needs and budgets of groups, we’ve created three different subscription options.
|Summary||Purchase subscriptions for libraries & coordinate group surveys||Administer group surveys on behalf of members||Functions as a library system|
|Yearly subscription cost|
All: 60% off member library prices; Partial: 30% off member library prices
|$50-500 (Based on the group's budget)||$50-500 (Based on the combined libraries' budgets)|
|Libraries run surveys independently at no additional cost||X|
|Member libraries can purchase an Impact Survey subscription to run independent surveys||X|
|Member libraries cannot run surveys independent from group||X|
|Library organizations can coordinate group surveys||X||X||X|
|Group receives aggregated reports and data||X||X||X|
|Group has access to member reports and data||X||X|
|Member libraries have access to own reports and data||X||X||X|
The survey does not collect any personally identifiable information from patrons. When a patron clicks on the link from your website to take the survey, your library’s unique survey URL (which includes your FSCS code assigned by the IMLS) is attached to the response. This code allows us to identify the responses that come from your library, but will not record any other information related to the patron, even if she/he is logged into their library account. The survey data is stored securely by the University of Washington’s Social Development Research Group (SDRG). All data is stored on secure servers with rights and permissions restricted housed in SDRG's offices. Physical access to the SDRG offices is access-card controlled. SDRG is very experienced in hosting web surveys on sensitive topics and has been previously granted a Certificate of Confidentiality from the National Institutes of Health. More information about SDRG
Project Outcome is managed by the Public Library Association and helps libraries to understand and share the true impact of library services and programs. Project Outcome gives libraries simple tools and a supportive online community to help collect and use better data to improve and promote libraries.
Project Outcome has partnered with Impact Survey to give users a high quality survey tool and report generator. Project Outcome users schedule their surveys using the Impact Survey portal, have access to survey promotion plan tools, and retrieve reports at the end of the survey fielding period.
To make the integration between Project Outcome and Impact Survey as seamless as possible, you now use your Project Outcome username (email address) and password to log into both sites. You can access Impact Survey through the link in your Project Outcome account, or by using the Project Outcome Log In at the Impact Survey site, We’re currently working on giving Project Outcome/Impact Survey libraries the ability to log in directly at ImpactSurvey.org.
No, there is no subscription fee for Project Outcome users to use the survey portal.
Yes, you can now add a url to which your survey respondents are directed after they complete the survey. You can set the survey end page through your My Impact dashboard. You can use this feature to link back to your homepage, or you can use something as simple as a google form to gather email addresses for an incentive prize drawing.
If you leave this field blank, the respondents will be directed to a thank you page on impactsurvey.org.
Yes. Some libraries have already have rotating banners or other devices on their website to draw attention to special events and highlighted services. We also have a number of banners and buttons that can be used in this context. We just recommend that the survey link appear prominently on your website and that you put up flyers announcing the survey around your public access computer terminals. The more responses you receive, the stronger your report data will be.
No, we do not need access to your website code. The code we supply for linking to the survey can be inserted into your library’s website by anyone with basic HTML skills and set-up should take less than 30 minutes. We will provide as much technical assistance as necessary, including walking you through the survey fielding process step-by-step. Feel free to contact us with any questions.
Yes. You can still administer the Impact Survey electronically by setting the homepage on your computers to the survey link.
Posting flyers, one-pagers, or posters near the computers and in other high-traffic areas of the library will help to generate survey awareness and participation among patrons. The tool will provide you with some custom flyers to help you promote the survey.
You select your survey start and stop dates. We suggest you run the survey for at least two weeks.
You have the option to extend the fielding period of the survey up to a maximum of four weeks. This extension may be useful for smaller libraries or libraries with a limited number of public access computer terminals. Once you have started to run the survey, you can change the end date at any point before the initial fielding period closes. For example, if you selected to run Impact Survey for 21 days, you have up until day 21 to extend the fielding period.
The survey takes about 10-15 minutes to complete. We’ve worked hard to keep the survey as short as possible, and have built in filtering questions so patrons avoid encountering questions that are not applicable to them.
Impact Survey is not a scientific study so there is not a target number your library must hit. However, your findings will be more informative with a higher number of responses. You are able to track the number of responses on your My Impact dashboard, which you will have easy access to once you register, with updates every 24 hours.
Impact Survey can be taken electronically or on paper. For electronic use, users will click on a banner or button on your library’s website that will direct them to the survey. This allows users flexibility to take the survey from the library computers, on their laptops, and even at home. The survey link can also be placed on the online catalog. For paper use, library users will need to obtain the printed out survey at the library.
Not all patrons access the library through a physical branch. On the survey, patrons indicate the way they typically access library resources:
- -7: unknown location
- -8: library website
- -9: library hotspot
- -10: bookmobile
The Impact Survey tool analyzes the data from your patrons’ survey responses and creates a variety of easy-to-read reports that present the results in text, charts, and graphs in a variety of documents. The reports vary from the full details of the survey results, to documents designed for use in presentations, to short briefs with key findings to leave with stakeholders. You are also provided a csv of the response data. Each library retains the right to publish its own data.
Simply delete the code and files that you installed in your website source files. You may find it helpful to insert comments before and after the pasted code in your source files. Hopefully you also made a backup of your library website before you inserted the survey code, just in case!
We recommend that you administer Impact Survey on an annual or biannual basis. This allows you to follow information trends, changes, and improvements in your library.